Apple ipad: a new medium for marketing?

I pose the question because a number have people have mentioned that notepads could represent a new medium for marketing and advertising. Certainly with Apple’s entry into the market with the ipad, they may be creating a significant new channel.
Apple have managed it to create something of a new marketing channel with the iphone and more specifically with apps. Even though the iphone represents a tiny fraction of the total mobile users (and less than 2% of the UK market), brands have been rushing to get their apps into the appstore. Market penetration aside, the iphone has caught the imagination of marketers who are providing everything from games to utilities on behalf of brands.
So what of the ipad? Well it’s not a mobile phone. And it’s not a laptop either. It sits somewhere in the middle of everything. It is more like a personal DVD player and hand-held games console type of machine, than it is a mobile phone.
Will it create a new marketing medium? It’s too early to say for sure, but I’m going to stick my neck out and so no. There are a few reasons for that: firstly, I don’t see it having the same market penetration as an iphone or an ipod. There are 50+ million iphones and nearly 200 million ipods out there. I cannot see how the ipad fills enough of a need to match those figures. Although if anyone can create a new mass market, then Apple can.
Secondly, the nature of the consumer engagement is different to a mobile phone. Mobiles are something we carry with us all the time. We call our loved ones on it, and we personalise them with backgrounds and ringtones. Clearly the ipad will not sit in the same space. I can imagine carrying an ipod when I’m on a journey, but for day-to-day use, I doubt it. And I’ll be carry a phone as well. The ipad is not a replacement for the mobile handset. Apart from anything else it won’t be available in 3G form straight away. Therefore the impact as a marketing medium is unlikely to be as significant as a mobile phone.
Ultimately the impact and effectiveness of any marketing will be down to our particular relationship with the technology. In itself the ipad brings nothing really new – it runs the same apps as the iphone with a few bits on top. Whereas the iphone was revolutionary in respect of its approach to apps, the ipad simply runs with that existing channel.
Ultimately it’s a case of waiting to see what happens with Apples new tablet. So, watch this space!

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